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About Author Doug Kari

Doug Kari Author

Doug Kari, True Crime Author

Lying in a shallow grave to imagine the carnage that occurred there. Scouring a remote corner of Death Valley to discover a key clue in a missing person case. Walking through squalid encampments in Mexico to interview migrant refugees.  

Doug Kari investigates true-crime stories firsthand and in depth. 

A confirmed adventurer, Doug wrote about the Marquesas Islands after accessing remote villages by 4WD. He undertook the first end-to-end traverse of the Inyo Mountains as a fundraiser for a rural hospital, securing pledges for each summit he climbed.  

Doug’s true-crime stories have run on the front pages of LA Weekly, Las Vegas Review-Journal, San Francisco Daily Journal, and other respected outlets.  

An English major at U.C. Berkeley, Doug honed his writing skills under novelist and professor Leonard Michaels (The Men’s Club). After receiving his law degree from U.C. Law San Francisco, Doug practiced IP law while doing pro bono wilderness protection work for Desert Survivors, an outdoor group that he co-founded. 

The Story Behind The Stories

Stories about the modern-day Wild West have been a lifelong passion, instilled by my grandmother Dale King. After grandpa died, she moved into a cabin in Fairview Valley, an expanse of high desert located northeast of Victorville, California.

Back then, Fairview Valley was populated by coyotes, jackrabbits, and rattlesnakes. Grandma witched a well for drinking water, heated her cabin with a potbelly stove, and used kerosene lanterns for light. At night she’d place a pair of lanterns on her kitchen table and read western novels by Louis L’Amour.

Come morning, grandma would strap on a Joslyn .44 revolver, climb into her Toyota Landcruiser, and spend her days roaming the backcountry. Later, when she began staking mining claims and hauling around ore samples, she graduated to a Ford F-250 four-wheel-drive pickup truck.

Abstract Art of desert on Doug Kari
Doug (left) during an end-to-end traverse of the Inyo Mountains in 2002

Along the way, grandma met old-timers who told stories about vanished travelers and hidden treasures. Back then the western deserts – Mojave, Sonora, and Great Basin – were untamed regions, and they still are in many respects. There’s sublime beauty and resonating silence, but also blazing sun, dangerous roads, and menacing characters.

As a teenager I began following in grandma’s footsteps, exploring Death Valley, Joshua Tree, parts of Nevada and Arizona, and borderlands to the south. I listened to grandma’s tales and became an avid reader of Desert Magazine, which recounted many of the region’s legends and mysteries.

In the 1980’s I became involved in desert conservation and co-founded the wilderness group Desert Survivors. Speaking at public hearings and testifying before Congress made me think about applying to law school. Even before I passed the bar exam, I began doing pro bono legal work to protect the region I loved.

In 2014, a story I wrote for Ars Technica, about an eBay bookseller who won a landmark Supreme Court case, drew 250,000 views. After that I delved into true crime and wrote a cover story for LA Weekly about the Berman murders.

Since then, I’ve reported on stories ranging from the cartel’s slaughter of Mormon moms and kids in northern Mexico, to the baffling disappearance of a Vietnam veteran in Death Valley National Park.

Articles By Doug

Missing teen’s case leads from California to Nevada

Five years after teenager Karlie Gusé disappeared from alongside U.S. Highway 6 in eastern California, authorities are searching for clues in Tonopah. Karlie, then 16, went missing on Oct. 13, 2018, in Chalfant Valley, California, about 30 miles south of the Nevada state line.

Former professor loses his appeal in Cambodia sex crimes case

An appellate court in Pasadena on Monday upheld the conviction of former university professor Michael J. Pepe, 69, on charges that he molested underage girls in Cambodia.

Doug Kari, Author at Long Beach Post News

The perpetrator “confined numerous preteen girls in his home,” a judge previously said, adding that “the horrors he inflicted” were “torture.”

DNA linked suspect to Nevada teen’s rape and murder, officials say

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office announced Wednesday that DNA evidence linked suspect Troy Driver to the rape and murder last year of 18-year-old Naomi Irion.

Suspect in Nevada teen’s kidnapping, killing dies by suicide in jail

YERINGTON — Troy Driver, the man accused of abducting an 18-year-old woman from a Walmart parking lot in Fernley and killing her at a remote mine site, died by suicide Sunday in his jail cell. Deputies assigned to the Lyon County jail discovered Driver, 43, unresponsive in his maximum-security cell during a routine check at 6:17 p.m. on Sunday. 

Death Valley mystery: New clue in case of missing veteran

SALINE VALLEY, Calif. — A new clue has surfaced in the case of a Vietnam veteran who went missing nearly two years ago in Death Valley National Park. Stuart Jeffries, who was helping me investigate the story, discovered a sandal last week about 1,000 feet from where Bob Wildoner’s pickup truck was found abandoned in May 2021.